Jan 252013

Coin Serf is disturbed by the presence of Dragons in the slayer counts
Coin Serf is nonplussed by “Dragons” in the slayer counts

Spoiler Warning: I don’t feel like I am giving away anything important in this, but if you are one of those that wants to uncover every detail of new content on your own, you should probably skip this posting. Here, have a nice discussion about Eberron as a gaming milieu instead.

For the rest of us, let’s talk about the (sort of) new Update 17 Adventure Area.

It seems wildly attractive, doesn’t it? The Ruins of Gianthold, updated and dressed up and ready for their Epic closeup. I had to find out for myself, and so off to Lamannia I go.

One huge difference is obvious right away: instead of the different slayer counts based on which part of the adventure area you are in, there are three slayer counts based on creature type: Giant, Dragon, and “Other”.

Wait – did that say “Dragon”?

That can’t be right. Dragons are awesome and famously difficult opponents. Fighting one should always be a big deal. Not “hurry up and kill 100 to earn 1000 XP”. That is what hobgoblins and orcs are for.

Legendary foes
Each encounter a great tale
Dragons are special

Killing them en masse, it’s just not how they work. This could put me off the whole area. I don’t want to wade into a scrum of a dozen dragons. They’d have to be so trivialized that all of their fun would be sucked away, leaving only reptilian husks of their former glory.

And so I sally forth, running through every crevice of the new Epic Ruins of Gianthold, hoping that I am misunderstanding and Dragons will not be appearing in great flocks after all.

Here are the main things I learn:

  • Everything is almost exactly as it was
  • There are a lot more hit points on the monsters
  • Many monsters that were drow or hobgoblin or gnoll are now Giants
  • But in several places even the opponents are unchanged (except for the hit points)
  • Instead of Explorer Points, now one works to uncover monuments containing quotes from the Stormreaver or the Truthful One
  • When you do find a part of the landscape that differs from the original Ruins, explore it, many of them lead to Stormreaver/Truthful One monuments

Best of all, I find no dragon herds. Strangely I find no Dragons at all.

And then, as I am nearly done, I trigger a rare encounter. I’ve stumbled across Red-Names already, and the Mindflayer and Aurum Supply encounters make repeat appearances, but this is different, this is in the style of the Kings Forest rare encounters. A yellow dot appears on my map, nearby, and text appears in the UI announcing the encounter.

Curious, I make my way to the yellow dot. There I find two familiar faces, I’ll leave the specifics up to you to find for yourself (I found it chuckle-worthy), but here they are, standing around a chest and needing protection.

From a Dragon.

Ah hah! So this is how it will be! Sure enough, we are shortly besieged by an appropriately bad ass White dragon, red-named as he ought to be, and sporting what I believe to be a unique appearance – his face seems different. Maybe I am imagining this, I want it to be true, but I took some screenshots and he definitely appears to have a Jimmy Durante nose thing going on.

It’s a long fight, as it should be, and in the end there are not one but two chests. I am awarded XP for my slayer count. Only one dragon is needed to earn slayer XP. I note also that my Dragon slayer counter will award me XP again on my very next Dragon victory.

So it is not herded masses of nerfed dragons after all, it is one dragon at a time, each uniquely identified, each worthy of being dragons.

What a relief! Even if it means I will have a lot more work to do in keeping the DDOGamer DragonDex up to date.

🙂 😀 🙂

  2 Responses to “Update 17 Preview: Epic Ruins of Gianthold”

Comments (2)
  1. Yay! Great post. Just enough detail to pique interest without spoiling (too much). Thank you, sir.

  2. HaHa!! Geoff your particular flavor of humor always cracks me up! You named your gelatinous cube Cosby! I see what you did there sir….

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